Anime Trash Swag – Vibrantly Dark

Anime and fashion are two vastly different cultures which have little to nothing in common. Thats what most people on either side of those communities would likely say. However this isn’t necessarily the case. Fashion is a constantly changing beast, which often appropriates ideas from subcultures in order to periodically reinvent itself for the modern era. Anime is Animation which originated from Japan, it has been around for 100 years or so. As the world of fashion has evolved, so too has the status quo. For a very long time, almost all of fashion’s prominent names have either been European or originated from the Western world. However over the  years Asia has created their own influential spectrum of fashion, which has shaken the world of fashion, shattering the idea that Europe would forever dominate the industry. Though Anime had largely been something that only the people of Japan could watch, it slowly emigrated to America and much of the world. Over the last thirty years it has grown and matured into a large  culture which is Western in its own unique way. Anime is as American as apple pie, albeit in it;s own unique way. As such another community has been growing fairly quickly, one thats a mix of both fashion and Anime. Anime Trash Swag is one of many budding brands in the Anime Fashion scene, though they’re something else.

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For one Anime and fashion already exists in a very basic form. This typically takes shape with online print shops, as artists can usually submit their art to such web sites. The artist is compensated via a small percentage of sales from items which utilized their artwork. Print shops are akin to whole sale distribution. They favor the consumer by having low prices, but at the cost of having a true sense of style. Furthermore its somewhat impractical for most artists to make significant money from these places, as their art is essentially competing with other peoples art.

Anime Trash Swag is a brand headed by two cosplayers, who also happen to be artists in their own right. There are an increasing amount of smaller brands popping up which heavily tap Anime as their main aesthetic or inspiration. After awhile you will find brands whose styles seem to overlap one another. This is probably because many people tend to interpret Anime in a singular way. Often time people may think that Anime is always light, happy, and weird. All of which is true, to a degree. As a whole Animation was never exclusively for children, because of this Anime does have a nuanced darker side. ATS is unique in that the brand exists in two extremes.

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End of Eva tee.

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On one hand ATS can be described as having an affinity for glam and brightly colored clothing/accessories, which many women would probably dig. On the other hand the brand also makes dope graphic tees, most of which reflect ATS’s love of darker more serious Anime. In some cases ATS  is able to combine both of these styles in order to create something which is a nice balance of two extremes working in harmony.

The light side of ATS takes the form of their Kirby hats, Candy Squid tops, and Bubble Tea shirts. The Candy Squid tee and top have an all over print which is a tribute to the Nintendo game Splatoon. It’s a shooter which heavily plays with color and ink, rather than using bullets. As such the game has a feeling of pure fun, while at times vaguely channeling 007 Goldeneye’s paintball mode. The print features many colored inklings in their squid forms. Towards the bottom of the tee/top the Squid Sisters can be seen, they are drawn slightly bigger. The print is executed very well, the inklings have lots of details, the graphic is very loud, which perfectly echos the feeling of the game. Then there ATS’s Bubble Tea shirts. The brand essentially showed their love of the very Asian drink known as bubble tea or simply boba. Boba has been around for a few decades. Finding bubble tea in America used to be somewhat difficult as only some Asian restaurants would carry the Taiwanese drink or a variant of it. Interestingly enough its become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, as such its presence in the US has increased dramatically.  The colors of the graphic are very bright, a bit ironic, evoke a summer feel, and the playfulness of the graphic is somewhat reminiscent of Japanese ads. Bubble Tea dropped in 4 different colorways, this is possibly a reference to the fact that there many variations of bubble tea.One last interesting element is that ATS added translucent overlays and stars, which help give the tees more depth. Lastly ATS’s Kirby hats are a straight forward and fun interpretation of Nintendo’s lil pink hero. Kirby is the protagonist of his own expansive gaming series, he’s often tasked with saving the world from the forces of evil. The hat has an all over cloud print, and some very clean embroidery of Kirby.

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Candy Squids tee.

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Candy Squid top.

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Squid Sisters.

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Bubble Tea shirts. The vinyl overlays are sewn on, the star beads mimic boba.

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Kirby’s Dream snapback. Available in either blue or pink.

One of the more interesting things about ATS is that it is unapologetic for its love of hentai. ATS has a fair amount of products for hentai fans, especially if they want to be somewhat lowkey for their affinity of erotic Anime or Manga it’s sub genres. Earlier this year the brand collabed with Fakku. It used to be a another hentai site, where people would go to read fan subbed pornographic manga for free. Fakku is now the largest hentai publisher in America. While that might not seem overtly special, its ultimately what Fakku’s motivations were that make it special. There are many sites where people can go to find erotic manga for free. However this means that creators of said content won’t be paid for their work. One of Fakku’s reasons for going legit was to ensure that hentai artists/writers would be compensated for their content. In short Fakku is a company seeking to help artists in an unstable industry. ATS’s collab is a perfect melding of light and dark elements. Their tee dubbed Momoka Melt features a nice rendering of Fakku’s mascot with their logo in the background. MM dropped in 2 versions, in one she’s happily covered cum, in the other theres some colorful “goop,” instead of cum.  The tee can be seen as a sort of tribute to hentai, while most stories tend to be dark in nature ATS chooses to celebrate the genre. Momoka can be symbolic in that shes the epitome of sexuality, however she is not objectified, but rather is clearly enjoying herself. In parallel fans of Anime/Manga can also be fans of hentai, even if the subject is often amoral. Fans don’t take the stories seriously, because they are not reflective of real life. In short ATS is just trying to have fun with a niche genre of Manga.

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Momoka Melt tee. No goop.

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With goop.

Finally theres the dark side of Anime Trash Swag. Some important ATS designs to look at are Sad Gurl Asuka, Pun Pun , and Lilith. The Pun Pun Striped tee is a shirt with alternating black and white stripes, lastly its available with either a small birdy or horns print. This entire tee is a subtle reference to the manga Goodnight Punpun. The series is akin to a saga which primarily focuses on the titular character, Punpun, exploring his life as a child, teenager, and young adult. Hes trapped in a cycle of failure, mostly through circumstance, but occasionally by his own choices. These continual bouts of misfortune slowly chip away at his psyche and hope for a better life. However each experience brings new insights, and as a result Punpun continually grows as a character, leaving him to ponder if he will find real happiness. The Pun Pun tee is an allusion to Punpun’s own shirt, he wears it during his final arc. The Birdy is actually Punpun, in the series he is stylized as a bird, which is him in his normal state, though as he aged his designed changed a bit. Whenever Punpun was not himself he would look like a different animal/creature. The horns print is also another version of Punpun. This version appeared prominently during Punpun’s final arc, he was in a very bleak state of mind and suicidal. He looked very human, his head was elongated with grotesque eyes and small horns. At one point Punpun essentially forces his girlfriend to stab his eye, which left him with an eye patch. The Lilith tee is a nice hand drawn  graphic. It’s a reference to Lilith from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Lilith is an Angel, alien or possibly cosmic being, which possess great power that can cause the end of humanity. However Lilith was found/captured and from it’s body, humanity created weapons, Evangelions, in order to stop the other Angels from causing another planet wide catastrophe, specifically Third Impact.The graphic echos Lilith’s mask, as the Angel wore one on its face, which had 7 eyes and an inverted triangle design. This tee perfectly captured Lilith’s role in Evangelion. There are groups that sought to use Lilith’s power for maniacal purposes, all of which would lead to the end of humanity. The eyes and triangle may be representative of insanity, as anyone looking to use Lilith’s power must be crazy. The skull could mean the death of humanity, in the original series the use of Lilith’s power essentially killed humanity. Finally there’s Sad Gurl Asuka, which is arguably ATS’s best designed graphic,though the brand is only a year old and they have other cool designs. In Neon Genesis Asuka is the pilot of EVA 02, she was considered the best pilot and was very egotistical. However as the series progressed its clear that she is not mentally stable, as time passes she goes through bouts of depression and a mental break from reality. Asuka is a truly memorable character in Evangelion who experiences lots of hardships and ends up becoming sympathetic. These are a few of the reasons why so many fans love her. Asuka is strong, but shes only human. The front graphic works on so many levels. We know this is Asuka, however it’s Asuka at her lowest. All you need to do is look into her eyes and realize she’s consumed with despair. Likely during her final battle in End of Evangelion when she’s close to death. The back graphic references this, as the Japanese Kanji reads “I don’t want to die.” combined with a fine balance of vibrant colors and a perfect execution of Asuka, the SGA tee is a perfect example of ATS’s design prowess. It’s definitely a mustcop for anyone who wants a quality piece of art/clothing or any Neon Genesis Evangelion fan.

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Pun Pun Striped tee. Birdy version.

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Horns version.

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Birdy print. Horns print.

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Lilith tee.

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Sad Gurl Asuka tee.

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There are a lot of reasons why Anime Trash Swag is a cool Anime brand. These are just a few of the reasons why ATS is a great brand in general. It seems as though the brand takes it’s primary inspiration from Neon Genesis Evangelion. However they use references from many different sub cultures, such as gaming, goth, punk, Anime, Asian cuisine, etc. ATS has a perfect balance of dark and fun designs. Which helps keep the brand interesting. Most brands usually have an established concept, but they tend to get stuck in it. Ultimately creating something mundane. ATS continually experiments with their art and design. At times they are very over the top, but it’s simply them being true to themselves. There aren’t enough brands that can do both loud or subtle designs and make them work well. One last thing to note is that ATS’s artwork is primarily created by one of the co-founders. In contrast to corporate companies, which typically just hire people to make designs for them. Anime Trash Swag is definitely an Anime Fashion brand that deserves a look a or two. ATS is only a year old, but they’ve already built a decent following, but it’s still growing. They occasionally attend Anime conventions, such as Anime expo, SacAnime, etc. They drop products sporadically, so if you’re looking to buy stuff from them you definitely need to keep up with their social media.

If you wanna know about the relationship concerning Anime, Streetwear, and Fashion. Read this, then this.

*Anime Trash Swag website

*Anime Trash Swag Instagram

*Anime Trash Swag Twitter

*Anime Trash Swag Tumblr

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